Taylor Swift and Baseball (Daryll)

Genesis 2:1-3: 1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.  3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
The number 7 is strongly associated in our society with completion, perfection, and good luck. As shown above, the world was created in 7 days and that number has remained as how we measure a week. Seven is when you have culminated from all the work of the first 6 and you rest. Done.
So it’s no surprise that Taylor Swift’s new album Lover – her 7th – is her most complete and brings all of her other albums into the conversation. It shows her mastermind in how she had this whole thing planned from Day 1.
So what is Taylor Talk doing on a site dedicated to baseball? No, this will not discuss the alleged Taylor Swift Curse of the Astros, but rather I will examine the 2019 current Major League teams and assign them a Taylor Swift album that fits their personality.
Like artists, we want to see our baseball teams maturing and growing. Sometimes everything goes well and you become the 2015 Royals, and other times Kayne West is still a jerk and lies about what he says about you on a new album even after you’ve made up with him for upstaging you in a misogynistic display of at an awards show.
Baseball more than any other sport embraces numbers in its heritage. Numbers are embedded in the statistics that go back 150 years. As fans, we shiver as we see certain records that have stood for decades fall, especially when we have questions about the record breaker(looking squarely at you Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds).
Baseball is populated of course by individual people, who make up teams, who collectively make up Major League Baseball. The league is in of itself at nearly all times representing multiple eras, so you have those odd stats like the one that Nolan Ryan struck out 10 pairs of father/son combos in baseball from Maury and Bump Wills to Ken Griffey Sr and Jr. Like an old boat that is replaced plank by plank until you have a completely new boat – yet the essence of it being the original boat remains.
Taylor Swift meanwhile started out her professional life as a country singer with a single about Tim McGraw at 14 years old, before first turning dramatically pop with 1989, then angrily independent with Reputation, then released Lover this year at 29. So while Taylor has continued to change album after album, the essence of Taylor Swift has remained and grown with each reiteration.
A full album is like a baseball team, full of individual(songs) that collectively make up a record. You see the analogy, right?
Baseball is all about numbers and continuity, Taylor Swift has linked imagery and numerical allusions throughout her 7 albums thus far, which likely will continue as her life and maturation unfolds in front of our eyes and through our ears.
As I surveyed the baseball landscape, I noticed that certain teams match the profiles of Swift’s albums thought I would take a look at some of today’s teams both on the rise and on the decline that best fit the albums of Taylor Swift.
1. Taylor Swift – San Diego Padres
This album is full of a young woman trying to figure some things out in life. She was 14-15 when she wrote it, and yet she captured that innocence and truth of having a crush on someone who doesn’t return the attraction (silly Drew), describing a friend who she finds out is bulimic, and with amazing maturity as a freshman in high school being in a relationship that she knows will end but ending it with a positive attitude in “Tim McGraw”.
Taylor Swift Albums Taylor Swift Credit: Big Machine
The Major League Team that fits this is the San Diego Padres. They are very young, tied for the youngest average age with the Tigers and Orioles at 26.1 years old, with their youngest player being a complete rising star in Fernando Tatis Jr at 20 years old. Though the team had higher expectations than their current .460 winning percentage, it’s also worth noting the Tigers and Orioles winning percentages are south of .330. The future is as bright as the sun in San Diego.
Favorite lyric: “He’s the song in the car I keep singing, don’t know why I do”
2. Fearless – Toronto Blue Jays
Taylor’s second album, her song “Love Story” put her on the world stage in a big way. The single sold 8.1million copies(this was 2008) and was the number one album of 2009. Taylor was just 18 years old and at the time was the youngest artist in history to have the best selling album of the year. The album has some all time favorite Taylor tracks, from “Love Story” to “White Horse to You Belong With Me”.
Taylor swift albums Taylor Swift - Fearless Credit: Big Machine
The Blue Jays get this nod because they have some amazing young talent in Vlad Jr, Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio. Those players are essentially the top singles, with Vlad Jr putting the youth of this team squarely in the major league spotlight with his performance at this year’s home run derby. That said – they are still an overall losing team that needs some work in other areas. Stay tuned though – a Padres-Blue Jays World Series in 2023 or so may not be out of the question.
Taylor might have a possible warning for the Blue Jays as they strip away other promising pieces to build around Vlad/Bichette?
Favorite lyric: “There in my disappearing rear view mirror disappearing now / and its too late for you and your white horse…to catch me now”
3. Speak Now – New York Yankees
With Speak Now, we see Taylor expand on her newfound mainstream success as she continues to steer away from country towards pop. Many country fans at this time could be heard saying “she’s not country” to which Taylor would’ve likely responded, “Exactly. I’m making good, quality music I enjoy making.”
Taylor Swift albums Taylor Swift - Speak Now Credit: Big MachineIn the same way, the New York Yankees in their history are known for making the big splashy free agency signings. This season, they didn’t get Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, but instead settled for All Stars like James Paxton, DJ Lemahieu, and other team cast-offs like Gio Urshela and Mike Tauchman. As the season started, they faced a seemingly insurmountable amount of injuries to major stars…and were not fazed.
Lemahieu put on a nearly All Star bid, Urshela and Luke Voit will get to 20 home runs, and they will fight for the best record in baseball.
Speak Now holds some of my favorite Swift songs, some that didn’t get a lot of mainstream play but fill out any playlist roster quite competently: Haunted, Long Live, and Speak Now being some under the radar favorites of her entire catalog. She is moving towards the modern rock sound that would define Red as her overall music and songwriting skills take giant steps forward from her debut album in just a few years.
The Yankees hope that “Long Live” becomes their anthem, as their youth movement looks to create lasting memories.
Favorite lyrics: “I said remember this feeling / pass the pictures around / of all the years we stood on the sidelines / wishing for right now…long live the look on your face / and bring on all the pretenders / we will be remembered”
4. Red – Atlanta Braves
“I’ve been spending the last eight months
Thinking all love ever does is break and burn and end
But on a Wednesday in a cafe I watched it begin again” – Begin Again
This is kind of how Braves fans felt when we first saw Ronald Acuna Jr a a Brave last season. We had seen prospects come and go since the glory days of the 1990’s-2000’s with Andruw and Chipper Jones. Jason Heyward was the great hope of 2010, but he fizzled quickly. Mike Minor? Brandon Beachy? The tragic case of Kris Medlen? Freddie Freeman had turned into a team leader and cornerstone, but we knew we needed more. He was the new Chipper, but who would be Andruw? When Acuna burst on the scene in 2018 and won the Rookie of the Year Award, indeed a new Braves baseball era had begun again. Sure, the Braves color is red too.
Taylor Swift albums Taylor Swift - Red Credit: Big Machine
Red was strange that people still thought of it and Taylor as…country, awkwardly nominated as country album of the year despite nearly no country anymore at all except “Stay Stay Stay” which was thrown in there to appease the country base. That would be like calling the Braves still rebuilding. The rebuild is over. The showtime team has arrived.
With classics like “I Knew You Were Trouble”, “22”, and the slow burn “All Too Well” which I will belt out anytime anyplace. The Brave have high hopes for 2019 though, and as I imagine another World Series victory I also take Taylors transcendent lyrics of heartbreak as a reminder of that run of 14 division titles with just one World Series:
“you call me up again just to break me like a promise / So casually cruel in the name of being honest. / I’m a crumpled up piece of paper lying here / ‘Cause I remember it all, all, all too well.”
5. 1989 – Houston Astros
So close to perfection with this album. The debate rages about which album is better: 1989 or Red and now of course Lover. However – it was clear that Taylor was now all in on pop as she teamed up with Bleachers frontman and FUN! guitarist/drummer and former Steel Train lead singer Jack Antonoff. “Shake It Off” is one of the most dancable/singable songs in recent memory, and made the phrase “haters gonna hate” much more common than it should be.
Taylor Swift albums Taylor Swift - 1989 Credit: Big Machine
The Astros, who won the World Series in 2017 in a 7 game duel with the Dodgers, were suprisingly eliminated in 2018 but seem back with force in 2019. They’ve battled some injuries but as of this writing sit tied with the best record in baseball. Their two main aces: Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, could both win the Cy young, with Verlander just throwing his third career no-hitter at 36 and he’s married to Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kate Upton. This team is incredibly strong top to bottom and well rounded.
1989 saw Taylor begin to round out many of the earlier themes of love and loss. Her song about moving to New York shows a woman maturing and beginning to take on larger issues of feminism and taking charge of her own life.  A favorite song is “I Know Places”, where Taylor reveals some of the pain of being a celebrity and everyone thinking they know what is best for you, and even being burned by some close friends. Of note, Ryan Adams loved this album so much he made a cover album of it. His album was reviewed by Billboard magazine, who did not review Taylor’s album.
Favorite Lyric: “Something happens when everybody finds out / see the vulture circling in dark clouds…cause they got the cages, we got the boxes / And guns, they are the hunters, we are the foxes / And we run”
6. Reputation – Boston Red Sox
You know that feeling after you reached the pinnacle, and then the letdown that follows despite still having incredible talent? That about describes the Red Sox in 2019 following a World Series victory in 2018.
Even looking at this team now, with JD Martinez and Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogarts all having fine seasons themselves, yet those parts don’t make the overall whole.
Taylor Swift - Reputation Credit: Mert & Marcus
I admit – I was put off by the lead single of Reputation “Look What You Made Me Do” following up on her vendetta with Kayne, but the overall style just isn’t as much for me. “Getaway Car”, “End Game”, and “…Ready For It” I like, as well as the acoustic driven “New Years Day” and the fun “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.”. Some things are good just not great – kind of like the seasons of David Price and Chris Sale.
This has now led to the firing of the World Championship team architect Dave Dombrowski – despite doing exactly what his bosses wanted of him just one year ago.
That said .- to truly experience the highs of pleasure you have to come from some pain and hardship. To come out into the light you must experience the dark.
Favorite lyric: “Hold on to the memories, they will hold onto you / and I will hold on to you…Please don’t ever become a stranger whose laugh I could recognize anywhere”
7. Lover – LA Dodgers
I really didn’t want to give any Dodgers fans the satisfaction that their team is nearly perfect. Yet after watching the team this year, their lineup is completely amazing to me that they can field almost separate Left Handed and Right handed lineups and all players would be starters on other teams.
The Dodgers despite all the focus on bullpen and launch angles ins previous years go back to solid starting pitching, and players who make contact and get on base.
Likewise, as Taylor strung out the release of Lover with singles, we knew we were back to a happier Taylor than what we saw in Reputation. The first track of the album lets us know too she doesn’t carry the criticism on her shoulders more as she shrugs “I forgot that you existed / and I thought that it would kill me, but it didn’t / and it was so nice”.
taylor-swift-lover-album-art-1560458980-640x640-1560529343
The biggest change has been her romance with British actor Joe Alwyn. This makes it way into many of her songs, from “London Boy” to her ultimate wedding day song “Lover”. She still has her amazing way of looking back on previous romances wistfully, yet now she is 29 years old and appears so mature and in charge of her own path. Those romances don’t dictate her actions now – she does.
The Dodgers enter 2019 having lost the last two World Series. Their manager Dave Roberts summed it up by saying that after they lost in 2017, the players were sad. This showed how they played in 2018 where they slugged along and had to play an extra game to win the NL West. After losing in 2018 however – this team got mad. That emotion, balanced after the previous losses, has propelled this team to a season where they haven’t had less than a 15 game division lead since mid July.
As Lover moves along, it arcs towards a close as she slows it down with “Its Nice to Have a Friend” after fast paced great songs “You Need to Calm Down” and “Me!”.
In “Daylight”, we see where Taylor has come as she references so many past songs and moments its hard to keep track.
The Dodgers of course are one of baseball’s most historic franchises. Their years of losing to the Yankees helped them coin the term “Wait ’til Next Year!” and they haven’t won a World Series since Kirk Gibson’s famous home run in 1988. Will 2019 be the year they get it? They’ll certainly be looking for what Taylor sees in this song:
And I can still see it all (in my mind)
All of you, all of me (intertwined)
I once believed love would be (black and white)
But it’s golden (golden)
And I can still see it all (in my head)
Back and forth from New York (sneakin’ in your bed)
I once believed love would be (burnin’ red)
But it’s golden
Like daylight
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